Wednesday, September 14, 2011

President Obama's Stimulus (Jobs Incentive)

I wish I had a few more economists as friends. This is not meant to disparage the intelligence of those who are my friends, nor to deny that they have some cerebral grasp of capitalistic economic theories, but I just don’t understand the President’s JOBS bill that he recently presented to Congress, the American people and is now stumping for throughout the land.

I have to admit I smiled when a read an article with an acrostic JOBS (Just Obama Blowing Smoke) which probably reveals my rather extreme bias against Stimulus IV (or is it V?). If the proposal is truly about getting the American economy moving again, I propose the following (and I’m serious):

First, cut the proposed $447 billion spending in half—just on the principle of the matter that an economy in peril doesn’t warrant that kind of spending. America’s GNP is around $15 trillion but since I’m not an economist and have no economist friends who would patiently endure my thick-headedness to explain whether that’s excessive or not, I maintain that it is. Being rather intelligent in my own right apart from much exposure to economic theories, I reason that taxes generated on a GNP of $15 trillion would be about 25%, so I’m guessing about $3.8 trillion.

But even as I write this, I thought surely our federal budget would be a better measure and sure enough, with the help of my internet search engine, Wikipedia reports that last year the federal government collected $2.16 trillion in taxes. So it’s worse than I thought. President Obama’s proposal is about 25% of what we collected last year. So, if a family making $60,000 a year is struggling economically, and the husband suggests INCREASING their spending by $15,000, you’d understand why his wife ripped his hair out. Sure, they may need to pay for more education for a better career to start making more money, but if they’re barely surviving now, how will they make it by increasing spending by 25%? So, my redaction of the President’s plan stands at $223.5 billion.

Second, I’d assess a 50% penalty for a track record of government waste. Spend an hour here reading and you’ll agree. It’s so much easier to track $20 than $200. When I go out on a Friday night with $200 in my pocket and come home with $20, I don’t always know where the dollars went (was it the appetizer, the Venti or the sporting goods store?). But with only a 20 in my pocket, I guard it like a pit bull. Now the President’s plan stands at $111.75 billion.

Third, give about half of that ($506 million) to the two major parties (sorry Tea Party, Constitution, Libertarian, etc. They must split that between themselves ($253 million each) and they can invest it however they choose. If they wish to put it all on one project or a handful of projects or spread it out over the states. But it would be a competition of sorts, to see how they use taxpayer dollars and whether they are successful.

Fourth, the remaining $506 million should be equally divided among the American people. With a population of about 312,000,000, this means every breathing American would get a bit over $1.5 million—none of the Bush tax rebate nonsense (remember the $600 in 2008?). There should be no lobbying for those who are already millionaires to do their patriotic duty and forego the stimulus. They can use it to pay the maid at their castle in Sicily. And no doubling up for poor mothers with 17 children either. Remember, the 17 children will each get a check, so she’ll be more than compensated.

Now, I really am serious about this. President Bush’s idea of a tax rebate was a good one, but the amount was ludicrous. My $600 caught me up on bills. My under my editing of the President’s plan, a family of 3 persons would receive about $4.5 million. I think we’d see some major economic stimulus going on.

Personally, with that kind of rebate, I’d purchase a new or nearly new automobile. I’d take a major vacation (probably more than one), eat out weekly, buy some small farm equipment, small office equipment , go to a Chiefs game, and invest. I'd also seriously consider starting my own business. And I don’t think I’d be the only one doing these things.

I know this seems ridiculous, but I am serious. Why wouldn’t giving the American people some serious cash stimulate our economy?

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